Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pine Sol is an aphrodisiac.

I just love the smell of it. It takes me back to when my mom would clean house on Saturdays. The dryer would be running in the dining room. The washer was in the kitchen. We had a messed up house for a while until my sister got married and moved out. We had linoleum all through the house. Once carpet was installed in the 80s, the smell still came on Saturdays, but it was usually confined to the kitchen or bathroom.

I've spent the afternoon cleaning the house. I've got a guest who will be staying here over the weekend. I've cleaned the kitchen to within an inch of its life. Even the cords are tucked. We wouldn't want it to look tacky.

The cat has had about enough of me chasing her from room to room.

I didn't intend on cleaning the house this early today. I had planned to save it for after sundown. But things happen. I hauled out the woodsplitter today.

I got a little done before I heard something snap. I hope it's just a rod or a spring. I haven't checked it out yet. It gets hot while it's running. I'll do that tomorrow before work.

With no working splitter, I turned my attention to a plant Carla gave me. One is about to bloom. I left it alone and snipped out its companion. I have no idea what it is. I added some jade like plants and a few pebbles.

I repotted the sago palm in the terracotta container by the basement door. I don't want to lose this one. The one planted by the chimney is there for a test. I bet it survives.

This is a double blooming morning glory. It reached a height of 3' this year. Big whoop. The flowers are stunning though.

It's 79 degrees. The smell of Pine Sol wafts through the air. It's a good day.

The Confederate Rose.

One story relates that the Confederate rose was in bloom during a particularly bloody battle of the Civil War.

A slain soldier fell beside a Confederate rose, and his blood spilled into the ground at the base of shrub.

The flowers, which had started out white in the morning, absorbed the slain soldier's blood throughout the day, so that by evening they had turned a deep, rosy red.

Words by Marie Harrison.

It's a beautiful flower. I watched it all day. I can't wait for the next ones.

It's 77 degrees. I'm about to go get dirty. It rained most of the night.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A rainbow on the wall.

There was no alarm clock this morning. The sound of the birds and the trash truck woke me from my sleep. I laid in bed for a few enjoying the sound of the wind through the trees around the yard. Once coffee was made, I began to formulate my plan for today. The second cup of coffee was enjoyed with the camera in the yard.

Something's wrong with my pumpkin.

More orange on new canna blooms.

And the Zuni Crape Myrtle I planted last fall in the perennial bed. This one should stop growing at about 15'. There was once a Thundercloud Plum here, but it lives on in the backyard now.

The tallest thing in the bed these days are the dying stalks of the Red Texas Star Hibiscus. I've collected plenty of seeds from these. I've got plans for them.

My cabbage grew overnight.

From a cutting taken in Carla's driveway last fall, I've got my first Confederate Rose bloom. It's actually a hibiscus. By evening, these should fade to pink or red. The story goes that slain Confederate soldiers' blood colored the flowers of a white blooming plant. I'm curious to see the outcome.

Today's task:

But to do that, something's got to go.

It's 73 degrees and mostly cloudy. The sun peaks through every now and again. Rain is likely this afternoon. It's a fine day to work in the dirt. I need it.

1:16pm - It's early afternoon. I could use a nap. I might get one here very soon. I pulled and moved the swamp sunflower on the corner. I scattered it around the edge of the backyard near the swing and in the crape myrtle bed. It can spread back there.

I gave some to a neighbor along with some spider lily bulbs I dug. He was very happy. He told me he hopes the next person that lives here loves gardening as much as I do. He's glad to know I'll be in town for another year even if the house sells. While we were talking, I found a great spot for this viburnum. I love the color.

My rooted artemesia cuttings are doing great too. Like me, they're happy to finally have rain.

If it storms, I'll clean the house and take a nap. If it doesn't, I'll probably just take a nap.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I've waited a year for color to return to the backyard. During the spring, there's a lot of bright green. In summer, the greens and browns provide a lush backdrop and hide the neighbors on the other side of The Wild. As fall rushes forward, the sugar maple on their property puts on a stunning show. Another on Pee Dee Avenue is the talk of the town. When it's in full blaze, people slow down to take a look. I'll have to get a photo in another week.

A crape myrtle near the kitchen window, on someone else's property, is on fire.

I notice the dogwoods every time I walk through the dining room, or out the front door.

From afar, there's still lots of color in the perennial bed.

I just can't get enough of these sunflowers.

I'm still waiting for Confederate Rose. I started it from seed two years ago. Those grown from cuttings are already budding. I have no idea what colors will come of this one.

I don't eat cooked collards, but I do like them raw. I grow them because that's what we're supposed to do.

It's windy today. Storms are moving across the mountains. They should arrive later this afternoon here. Still, the butterfly weed hangs onto its seeds. The sticky from the aphids helps.

It's been a long week. It's been a very busy week. I've walked many miles across the garden center, sometimes hauling a cart of mulch or fertilizer behind me. I spent some time yesterday culling deciduous plants from the tables and putting them on clearance. We've got to make room for the Christmas Trees that will be arriving in less than a month. Indoors, tropicals are being rearranged already. The Norfolks need a lot of room while they wait for buyers. I can't believe Christmas is only two months away. I should be stocking up for the cold month of January. Instead, I've lost another 4 pounds. I'm going to need to go shopping soon. I hate shopping.

It's 64 degrees, cloudy, and humid.

I am having an affair with a Mercedes Benz.

There. My secret's out. ~ Ouiser Boudreaux

It's fall. And we're smack dab in the middle of it. Work has been more challenging the past week or two. There's a lot more physical labor without the young part timers around. Without Carla, I'm doing the job of both of us. I've worn holes in the bottom of all my shoes. I might have to buy some new boots before Christmas. I'm tired. But it feels good.

The yard is still surprising me. The reds of summer have been joined by the yellows of autumn.

Pineapple sage.

Try not to stare.

Daylight fades quickly. The colors are starting to arrive. I love this time of the year. Everybody needs some rest. It was a brutal summer.

In the shade everywhere, there's slight chill in the air.

It's 64 degrees after midnight. There are thunderstorms in the forecast for the afternoon. It'll be a good day to work some clearance items under the canopy.

I'll have a Department walk coming up soon with the store manager. I'm eager to talk to him one on one. He was a zone 1 manager at one time. I'd like to hear what he has to say. That'll be my next promotion in about a year or more. Lots of little tasks that need to be done alongside the normal pile of work. It's going to be a long week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red is my signature color.

My truck.

That is not the only long sleeved shirt I own. It's comfy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010




It's 73 degrees. A high today of 83 will usher in a cold front that might bring showers Wednesday afternoon. The rest of the week will be cooler. Wood will be split very soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Learned by Squirrels.

I spent some time this weekend sitting on the front steps. I like to watch the sun move across the sky. Throughout the day, the temperature and sunlight varies. By mid-afternoon, it was warm and comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. The squirrels were busy chattering. Acorns are falling by the handful. Those that don't split on the concrete driveway are sometimes smashed to cancel the germination process. I don't need more oak trees. There will be many to pull in the spring.

While chattering, the squirrels are stocking their larders for the winter ahead. They've been busy for weeks, burying things in the mulch around the house. They dig in the potager beds where it's soft. They spend all their free time scanning the skies for predators. The birds are their early warning system when the owls return.

I need to be more like the squirrels. Idle chatter is nice sometimes, but there are things that need to be said. Squirrels are more social than some people. They look out for each other. They do it not because it's expected, but because they want to protect their own kind. I also need to spend some time stocking my larder. That woodpile isn't getting any smaller yet. The chainsaw needs a tune-up. The grass needs to be mowed once more. I've avoided a fire in the basement even as the nighttime temperatures drop into the low 40s. Two fires have been built in the fireplace upstairs. Nothing beats a good dinner and an evening by the fire. Well, almost nothing.

I hope to have a mess of fresh squash for next weekend.

Maybe I'll buy some small red potatoes and pick fresh rosemary from the driveway border. I'm happy with the way this area came out. Next year, black eyed susans, lorpetalum, a Muskogee crape myrtle, agapanthus, and pineapple sage will provide changing color through the seasons. I wonder if the rosemary will ever bloom?

Lacking sufficient moisture this summer, the upright growing elephant ears have not reached their full potential. I ignored them this spring. I figured the cold winter had killed most of them. Around June, they started popping up. I didn't water them thinking they were doing okay without. I really let the garden go this summer. I wanted to weed out the things that needed too much attention. Letting nature take care of those things for me made it less stressful. I'm glad they survived. Hilda gave me these. I think about her every time I pass them.

Salvias performed well all summer. Grown from cuttings this spring, a few of the Mystic Spires are still blooming. The purple/blue is crisp and clean. I like blue in the garden. The spring should be lovely. I've found gobs of larkspur and nigella seedlings. Orange cosmos and Lady in Red Salvia provide needed contrast to the deep blues. They came from scattered seeds too. The cycles continue unabated.

Helianthus and grasses just work.

I was worried about my brugs this summer. I did water a couple of them several times. I hope I get to see this show. Next weekend is the full moon. If they are on schedule, I'll linger in the yard just a few more minutes when I get home from work.

Betty's zinnia seeds have grown into blooming plants too. I've got a light pinkish purple one and this red. Red is one of my favorite colors in the garden.

Echinacea purpurea is still blooming in spots. Most of the seedheads were destroyed by finches in early summer. I collected a few from the new varieties of coneflowers I picked up on clearance. I'll wintersow those in December. I'm limiting myself to 50 containers. That should be plenty of seedlings to fill the bare spots left by the summer. I'm learning to tone it down a bit.

I just love the swamp sunflower, Helianthus augustifola. I've seen it growing along the highways here. I see other varieties of yellow blooming plants mixed in here and there. I might stop soon to see if any seeds are ready. I need to move these in a few weeks. They spread underground and they've taken over the corner. It's almost dangerous backing out of the driveway. I pay more attention to the flowers than I do any traffic that might be coming.

It's just loaded with blooms. They're causing the plants to bend over.

It's up to 63 degrees already. I've been told it's going to be a cold winter because of the way the corn grew this summer. I'm feeling it in my bones. My scar itches this morning.